Will criminals get killed in Iloilo City with him as chief of police?
Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido said the fates of criminals in the city would be up to God.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday announced that Espenido would soon be the chief of police of Iloilo City.
“God’s will ‘yan. Hindi naman sa atin ang buhay; sa Panginoon ‘yan," Espenido told reporters when asked if there will be casualties in police operations in the city.
"Kahit patayin ni Espenido kung hindi mamamatay, hindi talaga ‘yan mamamatay. Kahit hindi natin gustong patayin, kung mamamatay siya, mamamatay,” he added.
Espenido was the chief of police of Ozamis City when Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog was killed in a raid on the Parojinog family compound in August.
He was also the chief of police of Albuera, Leyte when Mayor Rolando Espinosa was arrested in October 2016 for his alleged involvement in drugs.
Espinosa was later killed in November while in detention at a sub-provincial jail.
Espenido has asked Iloilo City Mayor Jed Mabilog to stop his illegal activities.
Mabilog had been tagged by Duterte as among the politicials allegedly involved in the illegal drug trade.
The mayor has repeatedly denied allegations linking him to illegal drugs.
In an interview on QRT, Espenido allayed fears that Mabilog would meet the same fate of the slain mayors.
"Nasa tao na lang yun. Pero totoo talaga na kung hindi gusto ng Panginoon na mamatay ang mayor, hindi siya mamamatay. Panginoon ang may-ari ng buhay natin, hindi tao," Espenido said.
Espenido called for a stop to the alleged illegal activities.
“Sa akin lang sana mag-stop. Para malaman natin na tutuong mag stop, with action. Makikita y’ung action sa paggawa. Surrender anything na makatulong para maging mapayapa ‘yung bayan nila,” Espenido said.
Mabilog on Monday welcomed the announcement of Espenido's new assignment.
He said he looked forward to working "side by side" with the police official in addressing the illegal drug trade in the region.
"Malugod (kong) tinatanggap ang pag-assign ni Chief Inspector Jovie Espenido dito sa Iloilo, although hindi pa nalalaman kung sa city ba o province," Mabilog said in an email to GMA News.
"Umaasa ako na matutulungan tayo ni Chief Inspector Espenido na tuluyang mahinto ang problema ng illegal drugs," he added.
Earlier in the day, Duterte announced that he was reassigning Espenido to Iloilo.
"Your next assignment is Iloilo," Duterte said after Espenido was conferred the Order of Lapu-Lapu during the National Heroes Day commemoration at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Asked if Mabilog should surrender, Espenido said that it was up to the mayor.
“Kung sa palagay niya mag surrender siya, let it be, hayaan natin siya. Sa atin lang kung ano ang problema ng Iloilo ‘yun ang tinitignan natin para magkaroon ng tsansa ang tao na bigyan ng kapayapaan ang bayan na ‘yun,” Espenido said. —NB, GMA News